Take out Tuesday, Chicken, Apple & Spinach Manicotti

We have been eating a lot of apples around here lately, ever since we found out that they are a natural remedy for acid reflux and they have so many other health benefits.  It’s been fun to incorporate them into unexpected places like this recipe for Chicken, Apple, & Spinach Manicotti.

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Manicotti is a great way to use little bits of this and that to create a wonderful meal that your can do ahead of time. I LOVE do ahead dinners! It is such a great feeling to know there is a delicious dish is in the refrigerator ready to pop in the oven.

You can use this concept to make the dish in several ways if you don’t feel like stuffing manicotti.  You could use crepes or flour tortillas and roll them up enchilada style, or you can use lasagna and layer ingredients that way.  You could also just mix up the ingredients with other forms of pasta.  I used manicotti because I think its kinda fun to stuff them! You can see another version of manicotti with ham by clicking here.

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If you choose to make manicotti, just remember to undercook it.  Cook it only until it is just soft enough to work with.  If the pasta is too soft it will tear, you will get mad at me because you are frustrated that you can’ t get the stupid filling in them! So just 2-3 minutes and drain.  Run a little cool water over the drained tubes so they won’t stick together.

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Here’s my secret ingredient today, Stouffer’s Creamed Spinach.  The hard work is already done for you! Go ahead and  pop this in the microwave and cook.

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Saute some chicken over  medium high skillet, or use leftover cooked or Rotisserie chicken

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Remove the chicken and shred and saute some chopped green apple

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Yum

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Return the shredded chicken to the skillet with the apple

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and add the creamed spinach.

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and your filling is ready.  Give it a little salt & pepper.

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Here’s another little short cut I use instead of making my own white sauce.  Making white sauce is actually very simple, but sometimes I get very lazy…

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Microwave the sauce for a minute or two and spread it in a thin layer over the bottom of your oil sprayed baking dish.  Add a little milk if you want it thinner.

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And you are ready to stuff!  Use a spoon or your fingers.  I usually start with a spoon and end up using my fingers!  Stuffing both ends is easier than trying to stuff all from one end.

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Tuck the cute little stuffed tubes into your dish

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Top with a little more Alfredo thinned with milk

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and top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  Put this dish in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight at this point, or bake at 325 until bubbly and golden

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Here’s the recipe:   for a printable version click here

CHICKEN APPLE & SPINACH MANICOTTI

This recipe as pictured serves 2-4.  It is easy to increase the ingredients to make a bigger casserole.

2-3 chicken tenders {or 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded}

1 green apple, peel on, diced

1 pkg. Stouffer’s frozen Creamed Spinach

1/2 small tub of Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup 2% milk

8-9 Manicotti noodles

1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the spinach according to package directions and set aside.  Partially cook manicotti noodles 2-3 minutes until just soft.  Drain and rinse. Saute chicken in a little Olive oil over medium high heat until golden {it’s okay if it’s still a little pink, it will finish cooking when casserole bakes}.  Remove chicken from skillet and shred.  Add apple to skillet and saute until soft and golden.  Return chicken to pan and add spinach.  Stir and season with salt and pepper.  Microwave the Alfredo sauce for 1 minute and stir.  Cook and additional 30 seconds.  Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Stuff manicotti shells with chicken mixture and place them in prepared casserole dish. Top noodles with another thin layer of Alfredo sauce, adding some milk if necessary*. Top with Parmesan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Bake at 325 until bubbly and golden.  Serves 2-3

*NOTE: Don’t add milk directly to the tub of sauce because unless you are increasing the recipe you won’t need the whole thing.  Just mix some sauce and milk in another dish or drizzle milk over casserole at the end.

Enjoy!

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Comments
5 Responses to “Take out Tuesday, Chicken, Apple & Spinach Manicotti”
  1. Usually manicotti is a lot of effort. I love that this yummy recipe is easy enough to whip up for a week night dinner!

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  2. Mary says:

    I love make ahead dinners too! This looks delicious and brilliant to use the frozen creamed spinach! The addition of the apple sounds so interesting 🙂

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  3. Apple is such an interesting addition to this dish!

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  4. What an easy and company worthy meal! The combinations of ingredients are wonderful!!! And because it is a make-ahead meal, makes it even better.
    Thanks for sharing at ON THE MENU MONDAY!

    Like

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  1. […] Chicken Apple & Spinach filling makes a different twist on Manicotti […]

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